Morgendämmerung, oder, Wie man mit dem Hammer theologirt.
Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit id es semper esse puerum.
Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
Homo sum humani nihil a me alienum puto.
Semper idem sed non eodem modo.


Verbum domini manet in aeternum. The word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25, quoting Isaiah 40:6,8. Motto of the Lutheran Reformation.

Fayth onely justifieth before God. Robert Barnes, DD The Supplication, fourth essay. London: Daye, 1572.

Lord if Thou straightly mark our iniquity, who is able to abide Thy judgement? Wherefore I trust in no work that I ever did, but only in the death of Jesus Christ. I do not doubt, but through Him to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Robert Barnes, DD, before he was burnt alive for "heresy", 30 July 1540.

What is Luther? The doctrine is not mine, nor have I been crucified for anyone. Martin Luther, Dr. theol. (1522)

For the basics of our faith right here online, or for offline short daily prayer or devotion or study, scroll down to "A Beggar's Daily Portion" on the sidebar. For what that stuff in the banner means, scroll to the bottom of the sidebar.

28 June 2016

28 June 2016. Franz Ferdinand und Sophie.

"Sopherl! Sopherl! Sterbe nicht! Bleibe am Leben für unsere Kinder! 
28 June 1914, about 1045.
Within minutes of this picture, both would be dead, assassinated.  To be sure, the events of 102 years ago this day in 1914 did not just up and start World War One all by themselves.  The major causes had been building for 100 years before that.  As war broke out in 1914, what were called the Central Powers (Mittelmaechte, middle powers, between France and Russia) were entities that didn't even exist in 1814.  That's the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, both of which were founded out of the rise and fall of Napoleon's French Empire (1803-1815) and considerable social upheaval associated with that.

And by war's end, they would all be gone, after a "war to end all wars", as it was called at the time.  It didn't.  The aftermath of what was to be The War To End All Wars only set the stage for another even worse world war involving new and worse powers, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, both of which in turn were long gone by 2014.  But their fall left a horrible aftermath, compounded by the fact that their rise never resolved the aftermath of the War To End All Wars, so there's that still there too.  For example, the disposition by the victors of WWI of the Ottoman Empire -- ironically for most of its history a threat to Europe, but which had joined the Central Powers on 2 August 1914, having been founded 27 July 1299, defeated the surviving Eastern Roman Empire in 1453 and replaced it as the dominant power between the West and the East -- set the stage for the conflicts we read about daily now, 100 years on.  And, all of this transformed the United States from an alternative to and respite from Europe's and the world's conflicts into a major player in them.  In reality, the war to end all wars is not a relic of history; it continues to this day.

The German Empire was founded in 1871, eventually emerging from Napoleon's satellite confederation of German speaking lands after his dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.  The Austro-Hungarian Empire was founded in 1867, although Franz II, the last Holy Roman Emperor,on 11 August 1804, shortly before the demise of the HRE, sensing what was to come, became also the first Emperor of Austria, thus continuing an unofficial Hapsburg monarchy.

Napoleon had attempted to model his French Empire after the Roman Empire.  The French Empire in turn dissolved and displaced a general order that had existed in one form or another for 1000 years, the so-called Holy Roman Empire.  And that in turn saw itself as the re-institution, in 800, of the Roman Empire, which had collapsed in the West in 476.

The Ottoman Empire resulted in modern Turkey, and its lands in southeastern Europe and the Middle East were partitioned into countries intentionally drawn without respect to cultural, religious and natural boundaries, thinking that such counties would be too unstable to solidify into a threat again but that instability instead resulted in conflicts to this day in southeastern Europe and the Middle East.

The events of 28 June 1914 were the match struck, which kindled a series of declarations of war, based on alliances, that would entirely remove a world order that had existed for millennia, and whose replacement has been the subject of even worse wars and social upheaval since and has yet to emerge if it ever does, even as new entities -- the European Union, the Russian Federation, the Commonwealth of Nations, etc -- emerge.  

We are still in this period 100 years on --  everything controversial in world affairs now has its roots in the aftermath of World War One.  We seem to want to congratulate ourselves on having moved on, from a past most of which ought never have happened that we ought never repeat and can now largely ignore, to a future that will of course be better.  The problem is, that's the same illusion they had right after the war that began in 1914 years ago; the same illusion they had each time the human social order changes.

They?  No, the "they" is us, humanity.  Man's consistent record has been ever more spectacular accomplishments AND ever more spectacular failures.  And always thinking his latest spectacular accomplishments mean no more spectacular failures.  We say lex semper accusat (the law always accuses), but you know what, historia semper accusat (history always accuses) too.  That's why we like to ignore it.  Unless we learn from either the Law or history that Man cannot save himself, individually or collectively, we will have no ears for the Gospel.

RIP Franz Ferdinand und Sophie. 

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